Anna Hazare Launches 'Janatantra Morcha'

Anna Hazare Launches 'Janatantra Morcha'
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare today announced formation of an apolitical outfit 'Janatantra Morcha' to work for 'change of system' and warned the UPA government that it 'must fear' being ousted from power if it did not bring a strong Lokpal bill.

Announcing the formation of 'Janatantra Morcha' at the historic Gandhi Maidan during a rally - the first since he parted ways with his former aide Arvind Kejriwal, Hazare said it would not contest any polls but serve the people 'without any allurement of power or related benefits'.

He called upon the gathering to join the new outfit for 'Azadi ki dusri ladai' (second freedom struggle) and realise the dream of a political system that would cater to the aspirations of all.

The UPA government, he said, was scared of losing power on the Lokpal Bill if it went by the draft given the civil society that seeks autonomy for CBI and CVC, besides other stern measures.

"The public sentiments should be taken into account in drafting legislations, but the government is not doing so out of fear .... " he said and cautioned that the government that it 'must fear' being ousted by the people it did not bring a strong Lokpal bill.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had written a letter to Hazare recently and sent it to his Ralegan Sidhi village home assuring him that the Lokpal Bill, which he is campaigning for, would be passed in the coming budget session of Parliament which commences in the second half of next month.

He flayed the political class for their disconnect with the masses and their sentiments and said various legislations enacted by Parliament did not represent the public view. "Parliament must make laws, but the same should represent public views."

Hazare said "The remaining ills affecting our socio-economic and political system will be addressed by the Right to Recall and Right to Reject that will empower the people to recall the lawmakers for non-performance and reject candidates during the polls if any of them is perceived to be tainted or of criminal background."

These measures, he said, would put pressure on political parties and lawmakers to serve the people in a sincere manner and not behave like the masters of the people as was the case today.

"Had these anti-corruption measures (suggested in the civil societies' Lokpal Bill draft) been in place, at least 15 ministers in the UPA government would have behind the bars," he said and slammed it for lacking commitment to address corruption and related vices to save its leaders.

The new outfit would pressurise the government and the political class in general to reform the system, he said adding he would rope in six crore youths and campaign extensively beginning with four states in February this year to mobilize support for it.

Hazare circulated two mobile phone numbers to which interested people could SMS with a message 'Join Anna Org' or confirm their association through calls, e-mail or blogs.

The anti-corruption activist said he had given the call from here keeping in mind the fact that Bihar had been the 'karmabhumi' of Mahatma Gandhi and Jai Prakash Narayan.

The venue had also been deliberately chosen to arouse popular sentiments and ensure mass participation for his 'crusade' similar to that of the freedom movement and JP movement respectively on a day which is the 65th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The huge congregation repeated after him the pledge to create a 'new India' based on equity, justice to all, transparent and corruption-free system.

The pledge was taken on the blood-stained soil taken from the place where the Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, which had been bought at an auction in London by industrialist Kamal Morarka last year.

Former army chief V K Singh, who was present on the dais, said rooting out corruption from the society would be the primary objective of Janatantra Morcha.

It will work for eradication of corruption, transparency in governance through setting up 'Jan Lokpal Bill' and freeing CBI and CVC from government control, protection of the people's rights and framing of policies to suit the public and national interest.

The Morcha would also work for bringing back wealth stashed in foreign countries to fund various schemes like free LPG cylinders for the poor and seek ban on privatization of natural resources, besides opposing FDI in all sectors of the economy.

It will demand review of the FDI policy and seek that foreign funds be allowed only where its requirement was necessary, he said.

Hazare urged the youth to stick to the path of non-violence saying all his movements in the distant and immediate past have been peaceful and non-violent and had got the desired result.

Besides Singh, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi was among the Team Anna members who spoke on the occasion.

The gathering, including women and children, sported caps with 'Main Anna Hun' (I am Anna) written on them. They waved the national tricolour and raised slogans supporting the anti-graft activist.

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